December 2015: Ladylike R&D
The Ella Mesma Company guide: How to be a lady… or choose not to…
Ladylike is a concept I initially developed as a solo in 2012. I first heard the term ‘ladylike’ aged 4, when I was criticized for being ‘unladylike’ or too boisterous when playing. As anadult I have experiencedthe weight of gender expectations in dance. As a Salsa dancer I am expected to smile,look sexy and be submissive, whereas when Breaking (Breakdance) I am required to be bold, aggressive, and I have on occasion been told I should
“act more like a guy”.
I have often pondered this idea, feeling a sense of inner confusion both on a small scale in relation to dance styles but also in relation to how gender expectations influence our behaviours in the wider world. I knew that I wanted to explore this further through Latin and Breaking.
Breaking, created in New York, had a huge Latino influence, and I can see the links to Salsa in so many of the steps. Since starting Breaking I have been fascinated by this, by latin breaks which is where my heart lies, and how the